David Walliams: Star on the ‘worst time of day’ for his ‘long-lasting’ depression

Lorraine: David Walliams recalls hilarious Simon Cowell story

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The star, who is currently a judge on Britain’s Got Talent, opened up about his battle with depression on national television back in 2019, during an episode of Bear Grylls ITV show Bear’s Mission. In a completely different environment to he was used to, Walliams spoke personally about attempting suicide, but how becoming a father to his son Alfred completely changed his life around for the better.

In past interviews, Walliams said: “I have had struggles with depression in the past. There have been periods through my life when I’ve been very, very down and it’s been very long lasting.”

Writing his autobiography in 2012, Camp David, the star also addressed his struggle with depression, including the time of day he felt at his lowest.

He wrote: “Many people who suffer from depression confirm early morning is the worst time. At 4am you are totally alone.

“There is no one to call. It was not just the terrible elemental sadness I felt, but fear. Fear of death, fear of life, fear of love, fear of everything.”

Before going on to add: “This went on for six months.”

Having opened up about his past, Walliams told Grylls that he was in a better place, especially since the birth of his son whom he shares with ex-wife Lara Stone.

The Little Britain star added: “I’m certainly in a better place now and one great thing about becoming a parent, your whole life starts revolving around them and you do stop dwelling on your own problems so much, because you don’t have time to.”

However, the star did admit that the breakdown of his marriage in 2015 may have been one of the various triggers for his depression, saying: “End of relationships… all kinds of things can take you to a very bleak place.”

Despite his own trouble, Walliams has constantly encouraged others who find themselves struggling with their mental health to reach out and speak to someone, in a bid to help them overcome their dark times.

He said: “People don’t, I think, seek help because it affects a lot of people and it’s also to some extent fixable.

“So I always say to people in that situation that you should tell your family, tell your friends and seek help.”

The Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in England found that one in six people aged 16 and over had experienced symptoms of a common mental health problem such as depression and anxiety.

However, more up-to-date statistics provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), revealed that the prevalence of moderate or severe depressive symptoms among adults in Great Britain rose after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In surveys taken between July 2019 and March 2020 prevalence was 10 percent, but this rose to 19 percent by June 2020 and 21 percent by January to March 2021.

Depression in particular is defined by Mind, a UK leading mental health charity as a low mood that affects an individual’s everyday life. In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. At this level depression doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening.

When diagnosed, individuals may be told that they have mild, moderate or severe depression. This describes what sort of impact your symptoms are having in you currently and the sort of treatment you are likely to be recommended.

The most common signs and symptoms of depression include the following:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.

For some, symptoms may depend on various factors such as the season, if they are pregnant, if they have just given birth or if they have been experiencing depression for two years or more. These symptoms associated with a specific event or time of year are known as depression disorders.

However, depression even in its most severe form can be treated. The earlier treatment can begin the more effective it is reported to be. The condition is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two, depending on the individual.

If you are struggling with your mental health, contact the Samaritans online at [email protected] or call 116 123 from any phone for free.

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